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Youth Ministry Martyr Sundrome

 —  March 28, 2013 — 2 Comments

It happens to the best of us. It happened to me yesterday. And if I’m honest maybe the past couple months. Any of these ring a bell with you – some have felt pretty familiar to me in my youth ministry experience!

  • getting paid less than equals
  • little to no website exposure
  • higher expectations of you than others
  • total absence in the bulletin
  • budget cuts … again
  • note getting credit
  • feeling invisible in your church
  • they still won’t let me hire an assistant
  • not getting enough resources
  • spouse expectations
  • we’re growing while the church is dying
  • the scape goat for everything
  • unsupported by the leadership

So we become martyrs. We resign ourselves that these feelings are the underpinning price of being faithful. That doing God’s work just isn’t fair and this is our lot in life. Crybaby. Pity party.

  • Take a few minutes and think about where you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Journal a few thoughts about your fair and unfair comparisons and the trap you have fallen into.
  • The blame game has no winners, only losers.
  • Confess where you are playing the martyr.  Martyrdom will always suck passion and create tension.
  • Believe you are not a victim. Victimization will only give you excuses instead of results.
  • You are not constantly suffering. You are actually alienating yourself from the leadership who is trying to do the best job that they can.

What would you add to either list?


Josh Griffin


2 responses to Youth Ministry Martyr Sundrome

  1. Thanks for posting this Josh. I sometimes feel like what you described, thinking that it shouldn’t be like this, but then ultimately resigning myself to “it is what it is”. So I appreciate your points on how to deal with it. Thanks!!

  2. Yup, easy to fall into this mentality (and trap). I have been promised a “big raise” for several years, this year I was offered a raise and an assistant, then asked which one was more important. I said I needed help more than a raise…hiring help was approved, not the raise. So far, due to budget cash flow, I have not even gotten the help. Definitely frustrating, and a challenge to not to let it get me down. Yet, at the same time my family is provided for, and God continues to lead and bless. Thanks for letting me vent.

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